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How to Create an Effective Digital Marketing Plan

How to Create an Effective Digital Marketing Plan Image

The fourth quarter is always prime time for planning, so be prepared to give your digital marketing plan the attention it deserves. While it may be tempting to get caught up in tactics or jump into execution mode, heading into the new year with effective digital marketing strategies in place puts you in a better position to achieve your business goals.

Planning ahead also helps you stay within budget, build on what is working, eliminate what is not, and focus on those digital marketing activities that provide the greatest return on investment. Follow the tips below on creating a digital marketing plan that brings your business the most bang for its buck.

Evaluate and Adjust Accordingly

Look back and evaluate the results of your previous digital strategies. Then use those assessments as a road map for moving forward. Get rid of the strategies that aren’t working, and double down on the ones that are. That may mean trying something new.

One of the best things about any digital marketing campaign is the ability to pivot and make changes at any time. For example, if your email marketing is not generating leads, then allocate efforts toward social media marketing instead. If your Google Ads aren’t delivering the desired results, then pause them and run Facebook ads. Compare the performance of each to determine your next steps.

You can also evaluate your competitors’ digital campaigns. Where do they have a presence, and what are they doing on the various platforms? There are competitive research tools you can use, like SpyFu, where you can review the digital strategies others are using in your industry.

By evaluating your campaigns, you can also get a clearer picture of your potential customer. Free tools, like Facebook Audience Insights, can offer details on your audience’s size, demographics, interests, and more. Google Trends provides the topics being searched for, their search trends, and related search queries.  

Where Are You, and Where Do You Need to Be?

Examine your total online footprint to determine if your business is where it needs to be, if you are taking advantage of the proper tools available, and if there are other areas for improvement for each digital marketing campaign.

For example, if your business lacks a presence on Google, you’ll want to build upon your efforts there. This can be done through Google’s paid ads or free tools, like creating a Google business profile and encouraging your shoppers to leave a Google review about their customer experience.

It’s essential to ensure that your digital marketing campaigns are reaching your targeted audience in the right places and with the right messaging. The best way to do that is to be as specific as possible with your demographic targeting for each campaign. This is where creating a buyer persona comes into play when developing an effective digital marketing plan.

Buyer personas are fictional people that encompass the demographics, traits, and interests of those who purchase your product or service. To create your buyer personas, provide information including their age, location, occupation, hobbies, goals, online behavior, and how your brand can fulfill their needs.

Buyer personas tell you precisely whom to target when running your campaigns. You may have multiple buyer personas, and you can market to each based on their specific needs and interests. For example, if you sell fitness apparel to both men and women, you’d have a separate buyer persona for each gender and keep these audiences separate. This way, you can create the most relevant marketing messages that resonate with each.

Establish KPIs That Mean Something to You

With effective digital marketing campaigns, it’s all about results. But the only way to measure your success is to have clear key performance indicators. KPIs are data that help you determine if your goals are being met; if not, they allow you to restructure and optimize your campaigns to drive better results.

KPIs for digital marketing analytics can include page views, click-through rate, cost per lead, conversion rate, and many other metrics. Pick the KPIs that matter to you, and set benchmarks on what needs to be achieved to make a campaign worth the investment.

For example, with your email marketing campaign, the email open rate could be your KPI, and your benchmark could be 20% or higher. If you’re not achieving that rate, you can conduct A/B testing with various send times or subject lines and evaluate every 90 days before deciding to take a different action.

Create a Promotional Calendar

Whether your business is product- or service-based, having a promotional calendar with your digital marketing activities laid out can lead to greater success in the year ahead. Timing is everything, so when creating your calendar, remember that the summer and year-end holidays can be the most challenging for reaching people.

For instance, during the holiday shopping season, you don’t want to compete with big-box retailers that have significantly larger ad spends. By planning your promotional calendar in advance, you’ll be ahead of the game and ensure that your campaigns are optimized with ideal timing.

You know the times of the year that are your business peaks and lows, so schedule your social media ads, email campaigns, search engine marketing (SEM), and more for when it makes the most sense and when you are most likely to reach your targeted audience and get them engaged.

Build Out Your Content Calendar

Your content calendar should include the dates, content topics, and who is responsible for creating the content for your email campaigns, blog articles, social media posts, videos, and all other content marketing initiatives. Topics for each can be timed based on their relevance around seasons, holidays, and what consumers tend to shop for each month, with your “evergreen” content sprinkled throughout the year.

When creating your content calendar, assign roles to each team member with submission deadlines and run dates for the first 90 days, and then make new assignments in advance of the next quarter. This ensures that all content is created, approved, and published on time. Consistency is critical in content marketing, and having a calendar guarantees that a constant flow is being fed to your target audience.

Start the new year with a digital marketing plan in place so your business can move ahead with clear direction and strategies for driving success and growth. And if you need help, reach out to the pros here at Real Marketing Solutions to schedule a complimentary consultation and see how we can help you grow your business, your brand, and your bank account in 2023.

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